PS3 Attitude

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PS3 Attitude

Friday, 20 June 2008

Sweetflag competition

Our good friends over at Sweetflag are celebrating their one-year anniversary by giving away copies of either Euro 2008 for the PS3 or Boom Blox for the Wii.

Head over to their site to find out how to enter, and go win yourself the best football game on the PlayStation 3 platform (or you could plump for Boom Blox if you like...)

Congratulations to Sweetflag for reaching their first year. We can think of another site that might be close to the one-year milestone soon... hmmmm, I wonder who we're talking about?!

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100 million PS3 owners this generation

David Reeves, President of SCEE, has been outlining the direction of the PlayStation 3 in an keynote at the DevStation developer conference in London.

Reeves' prediction is that in this generation of consoles, the PS3 will ship 100 million units. As PS3 Attitude have said countless times, we think this is a completely achievable number.

The PS2, for example, shipped 117+ million units. With the PS3 having outsold the PS2 at the same point in time after release, it is not beyond reason to suggest that the PS3 could actually outsell it's predecessor.

“We see the future in the video games industry, certainly in terms of software sales, as continuing to grow – new markets, new demographics, and new games appealing to new sectors of the industry. And the key to the future is the PlayStation Network. Games put straight onto the PSN are the big opportunity.” - David Reeves, SCEE
During the conference, Reeves also spoke about non-games, Sony's rivals, the continued success of the PS2 and the PSP. You can read the entire piece at MCV.

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Thursday, 19 June 2008

European PS Store update for 19th June

Despite some talk that the European PS Store updates were going to slow down, this seems like another credible update. Two demos, a slew of add-ons and the usual videos and themes.

Of course, you may have already played the two demos from the US Store, so for those of you that did, I'm afraid you'll be wondering whether the add-ons are more up your street. And it's likely that if you enjoy playing Warhawk, you won't need the Booster Combo pack either.

But still, it's a reasonable update. Here's the full list:

Demos (all free)

Civilization Revolution
Dark Sector


Warhawk - Booster Combo Pack (Operation Omega Dawn and Operation Broken Mirror) (£4.99)
Guitar Hero III - Coldplay track pack (£3.99)
Everybody's Golf: World Tour - Oceania Resort Course (£2.99)
High Stakes Poker add-on (free)

Videos (all free)

GT Academy Launch Film
Battlefield: Bad Company trailers (x3)
Movement - Old Man trailer
Movement - Preview trailer

Wallpapers and themes (all free)

High Velocity Bowling - Postcard theme
High Velocity Bowling - Bowl theme
High Velocity Bowling - Strike theme
Pain - Nigel theme

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Wednesday, 18 June 2008

PROTOTYPE; Q&A reveals side-missions, devastation

PROTOTYPE is a forthcoming title where you play as Alex Mercer - a genetically mutated shape-shifter with no memory of his past - who travels through New York trying to regain his memory and find out what has happened to him.

The citizens of NY have been mutated with a virus, and the military have been sent in to deal with the situation. A true 'sandbox' game, Alex must fight both of these opposing factions in his quest for the truth.

We managed to get some time to ask Tim Bennison, Executive Producer at Radical Entertainment, to fill us in on some of the unique game elements in PROTOTYPE.

[PS3A] With PROTOTYPE being a 'sandbox' game, will you have lots of extra little side-missions and tasks you can choose to complete, or ignore, such as have been seen in other games of this type?

[TB] PROTOTYPE will deliver a wide spectrum of gameplay experiences throughout the story/missions. Because Alex Mercer can use his shape-shifting powers at any moment, players will be able to choose how they wish to complete a mission. There are also side missions we call the Web of Intrigue that accompany the key storyline missions, though we’ll be releasing more info on these in the future.

[PS3A] We've heard a little bit about the 'disguise or destroy' concept in this game. What do you mean by that and how does it work?

[TB] Alex can use his shape-shifting powers at any moment throughout the game, so the concept of 'Deceive or Destroy' is absolutely essential to our design process for each mission. Essentially players get to mix-n-match how to play a mission by deciding whether to unleash hell via Alex’s ability to turn his body into deadly weapons, or try and use deception and shape-shift into a civilian or military form and sneak into a scenario.

[PS3A] Just how flexible are Alex's superhuman capabilities? What can gamers expect to see in terms of abilities?

[TB] At any point, in any mission in PROTOTYPE, we want players to feel completely free when engaging enemies and situations. Alex Mercer can shape-shift his body into many different deadly weapons. He has offensive abilities like the claws, blade arm and whipfist; defensive abilities like the shield and armored skin, and some sensory abilities that allow him to see things the normal human eye can’t. And then there’s the part where Alex can consume and become anyone in NY, where he gains their knowledge, appearance, memories and abilities instantly.

The attack and defensive shape-shifting abilities add layers of choice to players. And we’ve really beefed up the concept of traditional power progression. The goal is to make players feel extremely powerful from the start of the game, whilst correctly balancing the enemy threat so that you’re always on edge. The devastation that any one of these powers can cause is pretty spectacular, this is not a Tekken-like one-on-one fight, this is one man taking out 20 elite soldiers with a single killer move.

We have quite a few other powers up our sleeve that haven’t been mentioned yet. We have an array of sensory powers for example, that make the PROTOTYPE a hunter on the par of the Earth’s most dangerous predators.

[PS3A] As well as Alex's abilities, what weapons, vehicles and other items can we expect to see available for use in the game?

[TB] One of our favorite internal memes is that we want Alex to kick butt in a hundred different ways that no one has ever seen before. Alex has the ability to consume and become anyone in New York City, plus Alex can shape-shift his arms into lethal blades, whip fists, ground spikes and claws among others. Some of the defense powers will include forming large arm-shields and a powered, armored form that lets Alex literally smash through vans and large vehicles unhindered.

If that wasn’t enough, we know gamers want to be able to run-n-gun, so yes, I’m glad to say that we’re also offering the use of traditional weapons in PROTOTYPE. We’re really trying to show off what we feel is next-gen gameplay and next-gen ‘choice’ of gameplay. It's pretty fun just ripping a missile-launcher out of a Blackwatch soldier's arms and taking down their own Apache gunships with it.

[PS3A] Back in December you showed a build that was around 20% complete, according to some reports. How far down the line are you now, and when can we expect to see the game released?

[TB] PROTOTYPE is looking better by the day. Our goal is to create a different kind of open-world/action experience. We’re going to polish it and release it when it’s ready in 2009.

[PS3A] How long did it take to create New York City in PROTOTYPE, and to what lengths did you go to to make it accurate?

[TB] One of our guiding principles in making PROTOTYPE is that everything should revolve around the concept of ‘reality plus one fantastic element’.

Having a very topical, believable environment lets us make the fantastic action become so much more stunning because you can contrast it against something you understand and recognise. We took 22,000 photographs of New York City and many hours of 7.1 surround sound-compatible recordings, so the first point to make is we're really keen to do New York City 'right'. Previous games have shown New York City and when you enter their version of Time Square, it has no more than 20 people walking around. That’s definitely NOT New York and so we're really happy with the sheer density, intensity and bustling nature of our game world.

We're talking hundreds of cars, thousands of pedestrians – so when things start to explode you really get the impression the world is caving in around you. Importantly though, we're not trying to recreate a slavish replica of NYC like you might find on Google maps. If you're going to include say, an alleyway, then you'd better have something fun to do in that alleyway. Hence we're going for a slightly modified vision of the city that builds in more action-per-square-foot than all of our previous efforts.

[PS3A]What is the best thing about being a game developer in Vancouver?

[TB] There are dozens of game development companies here so the pool of talent is very deep. We live in a great city, and it’s easy to find a lot of great things to do. But we ignore all that stuff until after we ship our game, of course.

Our thanks to Tim and the team at Radical for sparing us the time. Keep checking back for more on PROTOTYPE as the year progresses.

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Firmware 2.36 live; 2.4 on the way

Widely know as 'the firmware release before the important one', version 2.36 only adds some strengthened stability when playing some PlayStation format titles.

So, nothing to write home about yet.

But now that Sony themselves have confirmed that 2.40 does include in-game XMB, as well as a host of other desirable features such as the new Trophy system, this small stepping stone does at least give us a glimmer of hope that the more important firmware upgrade is going to be with us soon.

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Tuesday, 17 June 2008

D+PAD issue 8 now available

The quite brilliant D+PAD magazine, which is as interactive as Qore but without the $3 price tag and limited US availability, is now available for download.

It does, of course, feature an MGS4 review as well as details of Prince of Persia and Buzz! Quiz TV.

Go grab the latest issue of D+PAD now.

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MGS 4; PS3 Attitude Perfect Playthrough Plan

This article is intended for anyone who has played through Metal Gear Solid 4 at least once. If you haven't yet completed the game, bookmark this page and return to it after you have finished your first playthrough.

We're trying hard to keep this article 'spoiler free', but there's a chance something you'll read here may ruin your enjoyment of the game if you are a purist - if in doubt, don't read on!

So, you've completed Metal Gear Solid 4 at least once... well done! We hope you enjoyed your first playthrough of MGS4 as much as we did...

If you're still reading this and you haven't completed the game at least once, please bookmark this and come back to it later - this is your last warning!

So, since you've played through once, you've gained your first 'emblems'. You will gain these dependent on how you completed the game. Stealthy players may have gained the 'Inchworm' emblem for spending a lot of time on your stomach, for example. The more gung-ho of you may well have earned yourselves a 'Puma'.

There are 40 emblems to collect, so how do you plan a playthrough strategy that will help you unlock them all? Well, PS3 Attitude is here to help with the Perfect Playthrough Plan.

1. No-kill playthrough with 'Big Boss Hard' mode

Now that you know how to play MGS after your first complete, it's time to ramp up the difficulty.

The perfect no-kill playthrough in Big Boss Hard mode will gain you a number of difficult-to-achieve emblems.

You need to have less than 3 alert phases, zero kills, zero continues, use no rations/Regain/noodles, not use the Stealth Camouflage/Bandana and complete the game in less than 5 hours 30 minutes.

Doing this will get you the Fox Hound, Wolf, Octopus, Hound, Pigeon, Scorpion and Fox emblems.

This playthrough is great practice for the biggest challenge of all...

2. The 'Boss Extreme' playthrough

This is the hardest to achieve, but gains you the most audacious rewards. You need to start with Boss Extreme difficulty.

You then should play the game with zero alerts, zero kills, zero continues, use no rations/Regain/noodles, not use the Stealth Camouflage/Bandana, buy all weapons from Drebin's before the end of the game and complete the whole thing in less than 5 hours.

This incredible feat will net you the Big Boss, Mantis, Raven and Little Gray Emblems

3. The 'Menagerie' playthrough

We've called this one the Menagerie playthrough because it gains you more animal emblems than you'll find in your local zoo...

This is a fun playthrough that involves lots of killing, rolling and generally mucking about with the game. Ready for the checklist?

More than 150 alerts, more than 500 kills (and over 150 headshots), more than 50 continues, use rations/Regain/noodles/anything that restores your life gauge more than 50 times, be in Combat High more than 10 times, pick up over 400 weapons/items, crouch for over 2 hours 30 minutes, lay down for more than 60 minutes, jump or roll sideways more than 200 times, forward roll more than 100 times, cling to a wall for 1 hour or more, scan/inject more than 50 soldiers with the scanning plug/syringe, turn over 100 pages of your favourite Emotion/Playboy magazine, be in a box/drum for over 1 hour, 'hold up' more than 50 soldiers, body search more than 50 soldiers, get praised by the militia/rebels more than 25 times, give the militia/rebels more than 50 items, defeat over 100 enemies with CQC chokeholds - oh, and take more than 35 hours to complete the game.

We recommend trying to complete most of these in Acts I and II, and use the Stealth Camouflage to complete the more difficult elements of the game with ease.

This playthrough earns you the Chicken, Puma, Giant Panda, Crocodile, Cow, Pig, Hog, Hyena, Lobster, Inchworm, Frog, Scarab, Gecko, Bee, Rabbit, Tortoise, Gibbon, Ant, Hawk, Bluebird, Eagle and Bear emblems. It is also the perfect antidote to the Boss Extreme playthrough!

4. The 'Altair' playthrough

There are only two emblems left that you can gain in a single playthrough and they are the Assassin and Tarantula. The Assassin is the key emblem here, as it earns you the Altair costume.

You need to complete the game with over 50 knife kills or knife stuns, have 50 or more CQC holds, have less than 25 alerts, over 250 kills and less than 25 continues.

5. The rest

It isn't possible to work the remaining five emblems into a playthrough, so you will need to gain the Centipede, Spider, Jaguar, Panther and Leopard.

However, it is pretty easy to get these using Liquid Easy mode.

So - you will be playing MGS 4 for at least 60 hours before you can gain every emblem if you include the time you spent on your first playthrough. Who says games aren't good value for money?!

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Monday, 16 June 2008

21 hours later; MGS 4 review

Amazing to think that the Metal Gear saga has been 21 years in the making. Even more amazing that it took us almost exactly 21 hours to complete the first playthrough of Metal Gear Solid 4 - Solid Snake's swansong.

One hour per year - I wonder if that was in the game design like so many other clever and nostalgic references to MG and MGS titles gone by that appear in the game...

There will be no spoilers here - all I will tell you is how it felt to play, and complete, the most important PS3 exclusive of the year.

I'll be up front about it - I've had a problem with the Metal Gear Solid series over the years.

Whether I was playing MGS, MGS2, MGS3 or the PSP incarnation, the controls never felt quite right to me. There was always something frustrating about the way your character moved - whether it was Solid, Naked or Raiden - that led me to give away my position way too often. In a tactical espionage game, this was never a good trait.

As a result, despite having completed every MGS game (and Metal Gear on the MSX - the only one I've missed is MG2), I've never felt like playing through any of them more than once. I forced myself to play the 'second-half' of MGS2, just to experience life as Snake. Although I must say now, I was never one of the Raiden-haters and after his performance in MGS4, I like him more than ever now.

The controls in MGS 4, on the other hand, feel perfect. When you want to do something, it is easy to achieve and Snake responds to your commands with the accuracy you'd expect from an old war dog. Not only does this make life a lot easier, but it goes towards the complete sense of immersion this game creates.

And that is the key result of Kojima-san's brilliant game design - the immersion.

In order to assist this immersion over the years, MGS famously has turned to cinematic cut-scenes, but again there is a marked difference with MGS 4.

The cinematic elements of the story are filled with great cameos from Metal Gear favourites and are all well acted out. For the first time, the graphics in the scenes look the same as the graphics when you're playing, which adds to the level of immersion. Many times throughout you can look at the cut-scene from a different perspective and there are hundreds of 'flashbacks' to access that shows quick clips from previous games in the franchise.

Even the Codec is entertaining, thanks to the live video feed from the caller, and the mission briefings allow for all sorts of interaction using the little Mk. II robot.

The combination of the slick controls, the well-acted interactive cinematics and the natural flow from scene to gameplay combine towards the most complete of experiences. As a result, the cut-scenes never seem too long - they feel just like part of what you're doing to progress through the 'Acts'.

Everything feels like gameplay, even when you're not actually playing.

The result? I will play this title through again, and again. Already knowing what lies ahead and the achievements I have yet to complete, it would not be wrong for me to suggest that MGS 4 has at least 100 hours of gameplay in it - some people will play it for much longer than that.

Although MGS 4 is littered with references to the games that have gone before it, people who are new to the series can pick this up and play it without worrying about prior knowledge. Sure, some of the storyline might get lost on these ' Metal Gear Newbies', but MGS 4 never requires you to have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the characters and the timeline.

After a personal journey that takes in over 31 years of gaming, and 21 years of seeing Hideo Kojima's story unfold, the 21 hours I spent completing Metal Gear Solid 4 results in one clear statement - MGS 4 is a gaming masterpiece and everyone should experience it.

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